NEW YORK – The Michigan State Spartans and North Carolina Tar Heels will tip-off the 2011 college basketball season before 7,000 spectators on the massive flight deck of the United States Navy aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson on Veterans Day – November 11, 2011. The vessel will be docked at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego harbor. The 2011 Quicken Loans Carrier Classic will honor and entertain the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. The event is the first of its kind.
The game, a rematch of the epic 2009 NCAA Championship final, will be the first college basketball contest of the 2011-2012 season televised on ESPN. It is being organized by the Morale Entertainment Foundation. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET (4:00 p.m. PT).
Mike Whalen, director of the Morale Entertainment Foundation said, “From the very beginning, we felt the only outlet that could capture the significance of this event, and the excitement surrounding it, was ESPN. We are thrilled ESPN and Quicken Loans are joining the Foundation to honor the service of our current members of the Armed Forces and recognizing the service of the millions of veterans and their families who have gone before them.”
“We are privileged to be a part of this tremendous initiative honoring our veterans and troops,” added Nick Dawson, ESPN director, programming. “We commend Morale Entertainment, Michigan State University, the University of North Carolina, and the United States Navy for their creativity and enthusiasm. It’s exciting to still be able to televise new and unique games after 32 years and more than 9,500 live telecasts.” As part of the event, ESPN will televise special halftime entertainment and a post-game concert, also produced by Morale Entertainment Foundation.
“The Navy is honored to participate in what we believe will be a celebration of service for all veterans. The game will showcase three great teams: Michigan State, the University of North Carolina, and the U.S. Navy, America’s Global Force for Good. Basketball fans will enjoy the game, the opportunity to see it played on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and learning more about the incredible Sailors who proudly serve our nation every day,” said Rear Admiral Denny Moynihan, the Navy’s chief spokesman.
“We are excited to be part of an amazing event that commemorates the men and women who have, and continue to, put themselves in harm’s way to defend our nation, and pits two of the country’s most respected college basketball programs against one another,” said Jay Farner, President of Quicken Loans. “It is our honor on Veterans Day to recognize the service that so many have given to our nation.”
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo said, “I can’t think of a better way to start the season than playing in the 2011 Quicken Loans Carrier Classic on Veterans Day. The opportunity to give something back to those that serve in the military and their families is a humbling experience. On the court, the game will feature two of the top programs in America, but it also provides an opportunity for life lessons off the court, including those about the real meanings of sacrifice and dedication. As coaches and athletes, we are familiar with terms like wins and losses, but to our servicemen and women, those phrases have very different meanings. It’s a concept that first hit home during one of my trips to visit our troops in Kuwait, and one that I’ve carried with me since then. I’m sure that being a part of this game will create life-lasting memories for all involved. I know it certainly will for me.” Izzo has won one NCAA Championship with Michigan State and has led the Spartans to six Final Fours and 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams said, “It’s an honor for Carolina Basketball to play in such a unique game that will benefit and salute the United States’ armed forces. We thank the U.S. Navy for presenting us with this remarkable opportunity. The look on our players’ faces when I told them they would be playing outdoors on the deck of an aircraft carrier was priceless. The experience will create for them a lifetime of memories. Even more important is the chance to combine the start of college basketball season with saluting and thanking our military personnel for all they do to allow us to safely live and play each day in the United States of America.” Williams has won two NCAA Championships with North Carolina and coached teams to seven Final Fours and 20 of the last 21 NCAA Tournaments.
Two of the greatest players of all-time will be on-hand to serve as Honorary Captains for their alma maters, Magic Johnson of Michigan State and Michael Jordan of North Carolina.
The game will be played on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), which is the third United States Navy Nimitz class supercarrier. The ship is named after the late Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson, who served in the United States House of Representatives for over 50 years and also served as the longtime Chairman of the House Naval Affairs and Armed Services Committee. A basketball court and spectator seating will be constructed on the flight deck. The game will be played below the flight deck in the event of rain. Selected veterans will be honored on game day for their courageous service.
Attendees will include active military personnel and their families, veterans, selected guests from the participating universities, and other stakeholders. Tickets are not for sale to the general public.
The United States Navy, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Wounded Warrior Project, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, and the San Diego Sports Commission are assisting game organizer Morale Entertainment Foundation with various elements surrounding the event. Corporate sponsors already onboard for the event include: Quicken Loans, State Farm, Sears, and the Navy Federal Credit Union. The Newport News Shipbuilding Company will present a unique trophy to the game’s winner made out of actual ship parts.
ABOUT MORALE ENTERTAINMENT:
Morale Entertainment was formed by a group of entertainment and promotional professionals who set out to raise the bar for providing unique entertainment and raising awareness of our troops. Our stated mission is to entertain and celebrate the men and women of our Armed Forces, and to inspire appreciation and support from a grateful America. We acknowledge that there is a tendency to focus on our military during times of war or national emergency, and then let them slip from our consciousness during times of peace. To that end we want to celebrate our citizen soldiers in a way that raises our awareness of their needs during war time, peace time and upon the conclusion of their service and their entry back to civilian life. The nature of their service and the sacrifices they make is also borne by their family, friends and community. We should always have a sense of them as fellow citizens and not just when we call on them to defend us. Along with our goal to provide unique entertainment for their rest and recreation, we want to provide a platform and venue from which to raise our awareness of them and their families.
ABOUT QUICKEN LOANS INC.:
Quicken Loans Inc. is the nation’s largest online retail mortgage lender and among the five largest overall retail home lenders in the United States. The company closed a record $29 billion in retail home loan volume across all 50 states in 2010, and closed its 1 millionth loan. Quicken Loans employs approximately 3,700 team members and generates loan production from five web centers located in Michigan, Ohio and Arizona. The company also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Michigan as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked #1 in customer satisfaction among all home mortgage lenders in the United States by J.D. Power and Associates for 2010. “QuickenLoans.com” has been named “Best of the Web” by Forbes and Money magazines. The company also has been named to FORTUNE magazine’s list of the country’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” eight consecutive years, ranking as high as #2, and named in the Top-15 of Computerworld magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work In Technology” for six years in a row. Quicken Loans ranked #1 in the Detroit Free Press’ ‘Top Workplaces of 2010’ List. Last year, the company moved its headquarters and 1,700 of its 3,700 full-time team members to downtown Detroit. For more information about Quicken Loans, please visit www.quickenloans.com.
Commitments are in place for subsequent games in 2012 and 2013.
Visit http://www.moraleentertainment.orgfor more information.
Contact Positive Impact at www.positiveimpact.net for event sponsorship details.
For more event information, visit: http://www.carrierclassic.org/